Two films screened at the 2016 InspirED Convention in Lynden, WA may be valuable resources for your school community as you engage with social and environmental justice issues.
The first is The Harvest/La Cosecha (2011) is a story of children who feed America.
Every year, more than 400,000 American children are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. The Harvest/La Cosecha profiles the torrid journey of Zulema, Perla, and Victor from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards, and back South to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields, to follow the harvest. We learn how these three young people labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive.
La Cosecha/The Harvest tells the stories of Zulema, Perla and Victor; only three of the estimated 400,000 American child migrant farm workers who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat. The conditions they live in are extremely difficult. They earn no overtime and no sick days and often do not even receive a minimum wage. From the age of 12 or younger, their family’s necessity forces them to work in all weather extremes. They are exposed to hazardous pesticides in what is the most dangerous occupation for minors in the United States of America.
This is legal in America because the Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938, is a federal statute that introduced better labor conditions like the maximum 44-hour, seven-day work week, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed “time and a half” for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.” However, this act excluded agriculture and thus left thousands of children unprotected.
An educator guide can be downloaded here.
The second film is Racing Extinction
Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or ‘Age of Man’, because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss. We are the only ones who can stop it as well. The Oceanic Preservation Society, the group behind the Academy Award® winning film THE COVE, is back for “Racing Extinction”. Along with some new innovators, OPS will bring a voice to the thousands of species on the very edge of life. An unlikely team of activists is out to expose the two worlds endangering species across the globe. The first threat to the wild comes from the international trade of wildlife. Bogus markets are being created at the expense of creatures who have survived on this planet for millions of years. The other threat is all around us, hiding in plain sight. There’s a hidden world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Director Louie Psihoyos has concocted an ambitious mission to call attention to our impact on the planet, while inspiring others to embrace the solutions that will ensure a thriving planet for future generations.
Education resources can be found here.
elaine brouwer, alta vista